Torts — Negligence — Sovereign immunity — Law enforcement officer — Action against school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alleging that deputy’s negligence contributed to decedent’s death — Trial court did not err in denying deputy’s motion to dismiss, finding that deputy was not entitled to statutory immunity under section 768.28(9) as a matter of law — Complaint sufficiently pled allegations, which if true, would permit a reasonable trier of fact to find that deputy acted “in bad faith” or “with malicious purpose” or “with wanton and willful disregard of human rights or safety” as those phrases are used in statute — Discussion of how courts have interpreted and defined phrases used in statute — With regards to “wanton and willful disregard” standard, a reasonable trier of fact could find that deputy’s failure to confront school shooter, and failure to take any other action to fulfill his duty of protecting students and teachers, while choosing to remain outside in a protected location to ensure his own safety, constituted a conscious and intentional indifference to consequences with the knowledge that damage is likely to be done to persons, which deputy committed intentionally, knowingly and purposefully — Court can foresee how a reasonable trier of fact could find that deputy’s alleged conduct met “bad faith” and “malicious purpose” standards where complaint alleged that deputy’s lockdown order prevented students and teachers from escaping while ensuring deputy’s safety, and that deputy misinformed responding officer that deputy did not know shooter’s location, instead telling responding officer to watch deputy’s back — Definitions of “in bad faith” and “with malicious purpose” are not synonymous with “wanton and willful disregard”; thus special interrogatory verdicts for each phrase may be advisable at trial to avoid application of two-issue rule — Discussion of federal cases related to Columbine High School shooting in which law enforcement officers’ immunity-based motions to dismiss were granted — Present case is distinguishable from Columbine cases where complaint in present case alleged that deputy’s choice to remain outside ran counter to deputy’s training regarding how to address an active-shooter situation, and that deputy had no valid reason for remaining outside the building other than for his own protection
44 Fla. L. Weekly D2983b
The materials available at this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Website or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Abbey, Adams, Byelick & Mueller, L.L.P. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.
opens in a new windowAbbey, Adams, Byelick, & Mueller XML Sitemap Index